Blog Posts by Associated Press

  • Most Wild Kittens Taken to Shelters Will Be Killed

    Feral cats feeding on a supply of cat food at a park in Stockton, Calif. (AP file photo)
    By Sue Manning, LOS ANGELES (AP) — Wild kittens that will number in the tens of millions this year are starting to be born, but half of them won't survive, an especially acute problem at overtaxed shelters forced to euthanize the millions they receive. It is a grim reality a leading advocate calls "one of the last major problems" plaguing the animal welfare movement.

    Scads of good-intentioned people who discover wild litters of baby cats will take them to shelters, which are overrun with the animals from now through September. The facilities turn to euthanasia when their limited resources are stretched even thinner by the massive influx of kittens and the babies' required round-the-clock care. But groups that trap, neuter and release feral cats and shelters that are able to open 24-hour kitten nurseries are doing their part to stem the deaths.

    More on Yahoo: Celebrate National Pets Day on Friday at 1:00pm/EST with our live pet adoption broadcast

    "The problem of community cats dying in

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  • At-Home Mothers on the Rise, New Research Shows

    Photo: Getty ImagesBy Leanne Italie, NEW YORK (AP) -- More women are staying at home full-time to raise their children, according to a new Pew Research Center report released Tuesday.

    Factors cited by Pew to explain the increase include more immigrant mothers, who tend to stay home with children in greater numbers than U.S.-born moms; more women unable to find work; and ambivalence about the impact of working mothers on young children.

    The share of mothers who do not work outside the home rose to 29 percent in 2012, the study found.

    That's up from a low of 23 percent at the turn of the century, according to the report. At the height of the recession in 2008, Pew estimated 26 percent of mothers were home with children.

    The 29 percent includes women who are married, single, disabled, enrolled in school or unable to find work.

    The largest share of at-home mothers — roughly two-thirds of 10.4 million — had working husbands. A growing share — 6 percent in 2012, up from 1 percent in 2000 — said they could not find

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  • Prom Dress Shopping Perilous for Plus-Size Girls

    By Leanne Italie, NEW YORK (AP) — Maria Giorno has nothing against long gowns with high waists and flowing fabric — dresses that are designed to camouflage curves on plus-size women.

    But the New Jersey high school senior had no interest in buying a loose-fitting style for her senior prom, even though it was all she could find in a size 16 or so at nearby stores. So many stores, Giorno said, "never have anything that's a little more sexy or a little form-fitting, or anything like that for my age."

    Clothes shopping for plus-size teens can be frustrating in general, but shopping for a dream prom dress can be a tear-inducing, hair-pulling morass of bad design and few options — especially for girls who want a dress that hugs the body instead of tenting it.

    "It's like people kind of assume that's what I want and that's what I like. I'm 18. I really like the way the tight dresses look," said Giorno, who plays roller derby and hopes to study music education in college.

    She finally found one that

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  • ACLU Settles Suit Over Student's Online Comments

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A school district and a girl represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota have settled a lawsuit that claimed school officials violated the student's constitutional rights by viewing her Facebook and email accounts without permission.

    The Minnewaska School District has agreed to pay $70,000 to settle the 2012 case involving former Minnewaska Area Middle School sixth-grader, Riley Stratton, now 15 years old.

    According to the lawsuit, Stratton was given detention after posting disparaging comments about a teacher's aide on her Facebook page, even though she was at home and not using school computers. The ACLU also said administrators viewed her online conversations with a boy because of a complaint the two were using computers to talk about sex.

    "It was believed the parent had given permission to look at her cellphone," Minnewaska Superintendent Greg Schmidt said Tuesday. But Schmidt said the district did not have a signed consent from the parent.

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  • Girl Scouts Asked to End Partnership With Barbie

    NEW YORK (AP) — A few weeks after her foray into the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, Barbie is entangled in controversy again, this time over her ties with the Girl Scouts.

    Two advocacy groups often critical of corporate advertising tactics — the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for a New American Dream — on Thursday urged the Girl Scouts of the USA to end its partnership with the doll's manufacturer, the Mattel toy company.

    The partnership, announced last August, includes a Barbie-themed activity book, a website, and a Barbie participation patch — the first Girl Scout uniform patch with corporate sponsorship.

    "Holding Barbie, the quintessential fashion doll, up as a role model for Girl Scouts simultaneously sexualizes young girls, idealizes an impossible body type, and undermines the Girl Scouts' vital mission to build 'girls of courage, confidence and character,'" said Susan Linn, director of the Boston-based commercial-free childhood organization.

    She said

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  • Acetaminophen Use in Pregnancy Linked to Risk of ADHD

    Photo: Getty ImagesWashington (AFP) - Acetaminophen, a common pain reliever considered safe for pregnant women, has been linked for the first time to an increased risk of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in children, said a study Monday.

    More studies are needed to confirm the findings, but experts said the research points to a new potential cause for the worldwide rise in cases of ADHD, a neuro-behavioral condition which has no known cause and affects as many as five percent of US children.

    More on Yahoo: The Odd Ways Pregnancy Can Cause Vision Problems

    Women who took acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, while pregnant had a 37 percent higher risk of having a child who would be later given a hospital diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder, a particularly severe form of ADHD, said the study in February 24 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics.

    More on Yahoo Shine: Researchers Say Up to 25 Percent of Miscarriages Preventable

    Compared to women who did not

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  • Is it Rude to Ask Guests to Take Their Shoes Off?

    Photo: Getty ImagesIn Michigan, you're expected to leave snowy boots in the mudroom before going inside. In Alaska, boots are taken off in "Arctic entries." In Japan, Thailand and many other countries, you wouldn't dream of entering a home with your shoes on, regardless of the season.

    But removing shoes before coming inside has not been the norm in much of the U.S.

    These days, however, city dwellers and suburbanites from New York to Los Angeles often find that hosts expect footwear to be left at the door. Sometimes it's because of weather; other times, homeowners want to protect light-colored rugs and high-gloss wood floors from dirt and dings, or parents don't want street germs on floors where kids play.

    More on Yahoo Shine: The 10 Most Annoying Shoe Problems--Solved!

    Some guests find the request irksome — especially at holiday parties when they're dressed up. "But this is an outfit!" squeals Carrie Bradshaw in a "Sex and the City" episode when asked to take her shoes off at a baby shower. (Insult to Read More »from Is it Rude to Ask Guests to Take Their Shoes Off?
  • Groom who halted own wedding with bomb hoax jailed

    photo by AP imagesLONDON (AP) by  JILL LAWLESS — A forgetful British bridegroom who made a hoax bomb threat rather than admit he'd neglected to book the venue for his wedding was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail.

    Neil McArdle called Liverpool's St. George's Hall from a phone booth on his scheduled wedding day in April, claiming a bomb was due to go off in 45 minutes.

    His fiancee, Amy Williams, was left standing in the street in her wedding gown while the building was evacuated.

    McArdle, 36, was arrested the same day and admitted that he made the call because he had forgotten to fill out the paperwork for the wedding.

    "He did say several times how embarrassed and ashamed he was and how sorry he was," said prosecutor Derek Jones.

    A judge at Liverpool Crown Court in northwest England sentenced McArdle to 12 months in jail.

    Judge Norman Wright said that McArdle had frightened staff at the venue with his hoax —which came days after the Boston marathon bombings — and let down his fiancee.

    "She was getting ready,

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  • Risk Of Miscarriage Possibly Raised By High Levels Of BPA (STUDY)

    Photo by: Getty ImagesBy MARILYNN MARCHIONE | Associated Press

    BOSTON (AP) — New research suggests that high levels of BPA, a chemical in many plastics and canned food linings, might raise the risk of miscarriage in women prone to that problem or having trouble getting pregnant.

    The work is not nearly enough to prove a link, but it adds to "the biological plausibility" that BPA might affect fertility and other aspects of health, said Dr. Linda Giudice, a California biochemist who is president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The study was to be presented Monday at the group's annual conference in Boston. Last month, ASRM and an obstetricians group urged more attention to environmental chemicals and their potential hazards for pregnant women.

    BPA, short for bisphenol-A, and certain other environmental chemicals can have very weak, hormone-like effects. Tests show BPA in nearly everyone's urine, though the chemical has been removed from baby bottles and many reusable drink containers in recent

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  • Palace sheds some light on Kate's baby plans

    photo: AP Photo/Alistair Grant

    LONDON (AP) — With Prince William and the former Kate Middleton expecting their first child in mid-July — and much of the world interested in the birth of a future monarch — officials at Clarence House have released some of the couple's plans, although many details are still being kept private. Kate has made several public appearances recently but is expected to keep a low profile in the final weeks of her pregnancy. Here is the latest news about the infant who will, upon entering the world, be third in line for the British throne.

    KING OR QUEEN?

    Royal officials can't say — and it's not because they are being coy, it's because Kate and William have not found out — and don't plan to.

    "They don't know the sex of the baby and have decided not to find out," said a royal official who spoke on condition of anonymity under Palace guidelines for distributing information to the press.

    PACING THE HALLWAY OR IN THE ROOM WITH HIS WIFE?

    Officials said William "fully intends to be present at the birth."

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